NEW DELHI: Indian journalist bodies including the Editors Guild of India (EGI) on Sunday strongly condemned the "brazen" Israeli airstrikes on a building in Gaza that housed the offices of the Associated Press, Al Jazeera and other news media outlets.
The EGI said in a statement that given the recent background of the "escalating conflict" in this region, it sees this airstrike as "a de facto attack on the news media by the Israeli government" that can disrupt the flow of news from this highly volatile region and have global security implications.
"The Editors Guild of India strongly condemns the brazen airstrikes on a building in Gaza that housed the editorial offices of Al Jazeera and the Associated Press," the EGI said.
It also demanded that the Israeli government give "a detailed justification" of the decision-making behind this attack "along with evidentiary proof".
"The Guild also calls for the Israeli government to facilitate an UN-monitored investigation into this bombing raid," it added.
"Further, the Guild urges the Indian government to take up this issue with the Israeli government, demanding an independent inquiry and reiterating the need for ensuring the safety of journalists in any conflict situation," the statement said.
The EGI noted that the bombing raid on May 15 demolished the 12-storey building, destroying much of the camera and editing equipment and severely affecting the news reporting and broadcasting capabilities of the two organisations.
"Besides the loss of hardware and office space, the bombing destroyed what was described as 'home' by some of the journalists," it said.
Indian Women's Press Corps, Press Association and Press Club of India also criticised the action of the Israeli military in a joint statement.
They said there can be no justification for bombing media houses and targeting their personnel and resources.
"It appears as a clear attempt to prevent media houses from reporting excesses that have become a routine affair in Gaza and the occupied parts of Palestine," they said, and demanded that targeting of media persons working in violence-hit conflict zones "be completely stopped immediately".